Irony of the title "Top Girls"

Irony of the title "Top Girls"

  • Submitted By: Lizzy-Hough
  • Date Submitted: 10/14/2014 12:38 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1487
  • Page: 6
  • Views: 1

“To what extent is the title of the play ‘Top Girls’ ironic in the events of Act One?”

The title of Churchill’s play, ‘Top Girls’, at first appears to compliment the successes of the women who are gathered at the scene. Churchill introduces Marlene, a symbol of the “new woman” of 1980s society, who has successfully been awarded a promotion in a working world dominated by her male peers. By creating a scene in which six historical figures are gathered celebrating Marlene’s successes, it first appears that the women are united through their own individual shared successes. However, as the scene progresses it becomes apparent that there is a common theme of all the women struggling against the oppressive patriarchal order of society. It is through this shared grief of the women that it becomes apparent the title of ‘Top Girls’ is an ironic choice for a title, in the events of Act One.

Perhaps the irony of the title is lost through the representation of Marlene as the physically dominating and successful character who is indeed portrayed by Churchill as one of the “Top Girls” of Thatcher’s Britain. Marlene is symbolic for the ‘new woman’ of Thatcher’s Britain; a figure of much dislike at the time. Through the recurrent use of imperatives in her dialogue, which are very predominant when she addresses the waitress ordering her to “make that two steaks and a lot of potatoes. Rare”, Marlene can be seen to adopt an almost masculine identity which allowed her to succeed in her male dominated working world. What is ironic with this, however, is Churchill’s critique of the ‘new woman’ of the 1980s through Marlene’s character. Churchill criticises the apparent feminism of the time through the way in which the character of the “Waitress” is treated by the other females at the scene. Not only does Churchill remove any sense of identity from the woman by denying her a name, but through the way in which Marlene orders her away to get “two more Frascati. And some bread,...

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